By Published On: 9 July 2013597 words3 min read

Ronald McDonald

I recently read an article, “McDonald’s and Animal Welfare ‘Tipping Point’,” from The Pig Site (not a place I’m familiar with). It claims that “McDonald’s has been proactively involved in animal welfare since the mid-1990s,” and I’d be lying to you if I said I did not roll my eyes. The shit was laid on thick as words like “legacy” and “milestone” were used to to explain The Golden Arches’ new Global Animal Health & Welfare Team’s formation.

“When we asked 10 different customers to define animal welfare, we would get ten different responses. But when we changed the nomenclature and asked about animal health and welfare, that’s when the conversation really started to shift. Consumers immediately equated healthy animals with safe, quality food.”

And therein lies the problem any time one of the big food companies tries to claim they have any interest in animal welfare. They don’t, and they don’t want the people buying their product to. But using that phrase makes the company look good, and distilling it into something that was not its intended meaning – healthy animals = safe, quality food – means a win-win for everyone. Except the animals, of course. “Ultimately, it’s about your product and your reputation,” says Bruce Feinberg, leader of the new team.

I know that most vegans wouldn’t expect McDonald’s to be any type of ally to animals, and those vegans would be correct. But shouldn’t we still question them when they say things like the following? Via the McDonald’s website:

We consider our priorities for food safety, quality and costs – together with our ethical, environmental and economic responsibilities – when we make purchasing decisions and evaluate supplier performance. This includes animal welfare.

Are they really considering their ethical, environmental and economic responsibilities?

Ethical

Environmental

Economic

  • “Economic Responsibility” sounds like profit-maximization to me, but I could be wrong.
  • The draw of fast food – aside from the salt-sugar-fat factor – is that it’s fast and cheap. But at what cost? I’ll never forget the first time I saw Food, Inc., where a family couldn’t afford fresh produce from the supermarket at the per pound price and opted for a drive-through burger because they felt they were getting more bang for their buck. This isn’t economic responsibility; this is the way we keep people malnourished and lead them to all of those illnesses of excess that we shouldn’t have in crisis numbers in this country.

To me, it’s obvious that fast food and animal welfare do not mix. Let’s remember that humans are animals, too, so that includes the welfare of each and every one of us. There is nothing about the golden arches that has your best interest in mind. Chew on that for a bit.

Photo credit: Jesse Thorstad via Flickr

By Published On: 9 July 2013597 words3 min read

Ronald McDonald

I recently read an article, “McDonald’s and Animal Welfare ‘Tipping Point’,” from The Pig Site (not a place I’m familiar with). It claims that “McDonald’s has been proactively involved in animal welfare since the mid-1990s,” and I’d be lying to you if I said I did not roll my eyes. The shit was laid on thick as words like “legacy” and “milestone” were used to to explain The Golden Arches’ new Global Animal Health & Welfare Team’s formation.

“When we asked 10 different customers to define animal welfare, we would get ten different responses. But when we changed the nomenclature and asked about animal health and welfare, that’s when the conversation really started to shift. Consumers immediately equated healthy animals with safe, quality food.”

And therein lies the problem any time one of the big food companies tries to claim they have any interest in animal welfare. They don’t, and they don’t want the people buying their product to. But using that phrase makes the company look good, and distilling it into something that was not its intended meaning – healthy animals = safe, quality food – means a win-win for everyone. Except the animals, of course. “Ultimately, it’s about your product and your reputation,” says Bruce Feinberg, leader of the new team.

I know that most vegans wouldn’t expect McDonald’s to be any type of ally to animals, and those vegans would be correct. But shouldn’t we still question them when they say things like the following? Via the McDonald’s website:

We consider our priorities for food safety, quality and costs – together with our ethical, environmental and economic responsibilities – when we make purchasing decisions and evaluate supplier performance. This includes animal welfare.

Are they really considering their ethical, environmental and economic responsibilities?

Ethical

Environmental

Economic

  • “Economic Responsibility” sounds like profit-maximization to me, but I could be wrong.
  • The draw of fast food – aside from the salt-sugar-fat factor – is that it’s fast and cheap. But at what cost? I’ll never forget the first time I saw Food, Inc., where a family couldn’t afford fresh produce from the supermarket at the per pound price and opted for a drive-through burger because they felt they were getting more bang for their buck. This isn’t economic responsibility; this is the way we keep people malnourished and lead them to all of those illnesses of excess that we shouldn’t have in crisis numbers in this country.

To me, it’s obvious that fast food and animal welfare do not mix. Let’s remember that humans are animals, too, so that includes the welfare of each and every one of us. There is nothing about the golden arches that has your best interest in mind. Chew on that for a bit.

Photo credit: Jesse Thorstad via Flickr

Leave a Comment

What do you think? Tell me in the comments.
All comments subject to the terms here.

  1. Daria Zeoli July 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    You make a good point, Corey – the free PR is unneeded and unhelpful. Imagine, indeed.

  2. Corey Lee Wrenn July 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Yea, it’s a shame so many animal rights orgs scramble to get in good with McDonald’s when all they’re doing is acting as free PR. Imagine what good they could accomplish if they put all that time and effort into vegan campaigns.